The special edition of The Battle of the Five Armies is my favorite score. It hasn’t really left my player since it came out. It has some of my favorite cues of all six films. “To the Death,” “Ravenhill,” “Sons of Durin,” “Battle for the Mountain,” “Fire and Water,” “Guardians of the Three,” and “The Last Goodbye” are probably my favorite cues, in that order, but there isn’t a single cue on the album I want to skip. This score contains some of my favorite of all of Howard Shore's themes for the Middle-Earth movies. I can't get enough of it.
Directly behind it, as second favorite, would be the complete recording edition of Fellowship. I couldn’t even tell you what was on the short single-disc version any longer, as it was missing most of my favorite music, and I haven’t listened to it since I got the complete version. Favorite cue on the complete album: “Khazad-Dum,” followed by “The Road Goes Ever on... Pt 1.” I also love “The Passing of the Elves.” The complete Fellowship is wonderful and I will never ever tire of putting it on.
(Okay, I checked out the short Fellowship album right now, out of curiosity, and no. Definitely missing all the music I love. It has “The Bridge at Khazad-Dum,” but it’s a much shorter cue than the one on the complete CD, and it starts much later in the movie and leaves off all the music when they’re first running down the stone stairway, which is the whole reason I love that cue to begin with.)
However, while I own the complete scores, for listening purposes, I prefer the short albums for both Two Towers and Return of the King. I used to listen to Two Towers ALL the time, as it was a perfect disc for listening to in the car.
Return of the King has some of the best musical moments of all the scores, but it is not my own favorite overall score. But “Minith Tirith” and “The White Tree” are my favorite cues off the short album.